Colorado 2016 Weidner Cares

On May 17, Weidner associates descended on the Mark Reyner stables located in the heart of Colorado Springs, nestled in beautiful Palmer Park to volunteer their time and expertise at the Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center (CSTRC).

The Center is a nonprofit organization committed to delivering the highest quality therapeutic riding and therapy to individuals with special needs. Although the stables have been owned and operated by Bob and Nancy Harrison since 1975, CSTRC was created in 2006 to meet the growing demand in the special needs community for this type of therapy. Starting with just three clients, their numbers have exploded over the years, and they now serve over 100 individuals ranging in age from 2 years to 60+. They specialize in servicing people who are living with physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral and other learning challenges. Many of the people that come to the Center suffer from Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy, blindness, deafness and other afflictions.

The center is primarily run by a mix of volunteers, family, and friends of the Harrison’s. When I talked to daughter Jaime about what it’s like to work with their young clients, she said that the best way she can describe therapeutic riding is that it gives the riders “Freedom, challenge and liberation” because when you are on a horse, limitations fall by the wayside and a sense of freedom, along with the challenges of learning to ride, bring a sense of liberation to the rider.

Amidst the backdrop of overcast skies, and the occasional downpour, our teams worked on various projects around the stables. The day started out in the indoor arena – one of the newest additions to the property which has turned out to be a real blessing to the Center as it allows volunteers to work with clients during inclement weather. Weidner team members did a lot of cleanup work inside the arena, and affixed approximately 50 sheets of painted plywood to the interior walls of the structure to give it a much more finished look, and to help in insulating the metal building. A small duck pond was dug out and installed. Our landscaping crew was aided by many property team members to tackle projects such as tree pruning, brush removal, fence repairs, and trash haul away. They also constructed a new bridge to be used during therapy, a roof to cover a storage space for ranch equipment, and the repair of several water lines that had been leaking for years.

In perhaps the most ambitious undertaking of the day, a switchback trail was created that linked the upper portion of the property where the horses are boarded to the lower outdoor arena where a majority of the outdoor therapy sessions occur. Our landscape manager Elvin Henderson was the key in making this happen as his expertise running heavy machinery allowed us to get the road cleared and graded in one day. This project was especially requested and hoped for by the hundreds of clients and volunteers that have to make that trek each time they are at the stables, and would save them lots of wasted time that they could otherwise be on the horses working with kids.

All told, our team’s efforts were extremely well received and brought tears to the eyes of our hosts. In fact, we were able to meet the parents of a young boy who had recently passed away as they surveyed the handiwork of the team that cleared out a hillside to create a memorial patch. Grandview CD Kevin Albrecht said that his team got to celebrate the young boys’ life by planting a small pine tree, and that it brought the crew together in a very emotional and moving way. Please join me in congratulating the Colorado team for another well done project.

To learn more about our previous events, check out the Weidner Blog here.

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